Ten people were killed on Wednesday night in the Rwangoma neighbourhood southeast of Beni, North Kivu province in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Congolese army said the killing occurred in an attack by the Allied Democratic Forces, an armed group believed by some — as per United States’ intel, to be affiliated with the jihadist Islamic State organisation.
Kizito Bin Hang, the representative of civil society from Beni, shared his thoughts about the recent incident.
“During their operation, the ADF massacred more than ten people, burned houses and caused other damage, which as civil society we deplore.
“We believe that the authorities must always take into consideration the alerts given by the population.”
Beni and its surrounding areas have been targeted since 2013 by the ADF — which is behind a series of massacres that have claimed at least 6,000 lives.
Kambale Mwalimu, a local farmer, recounts how the attack played out as he had experienced it in real-time.
“It was around 10:40 pm when we heard people shouting ‘Oh thief, we have been infiltrated by bandits!’ We then heard bullets being fired, ‘Bang! Bang! Bang!’
“People kept yelling ‘Oh thieves, we’re being infiltrated.’ The attackers started shooting and taking hostages.”
Many residents are both shocked and angered by the massacre — denouncing the regional state of siege in force to protect civilians.
An enraged group of young people marched with the body of one of the victims through the town — chanting slogans in criticism of the army and the state of siege decreed on May 6 by Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi.
This exceptional decision in force in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri aims to put an end to the activities of armed groups that threaten civilians on a daily basis.
The ADF are Ugandan Muslim rebels who have been active in eastern Congo for more than 25 years.